Russia Today is preparing a hybrid attack on Latvian media

15.06.2020 Off By Polyanska
Russia Today is preparing a hybrid attack on Latvian media

When some time ago deceitful adverts appeared online depicting popular Latvian artists and celebrities advertising cryptocurrencies, it seemed that it’s just some bored hipster having fun. However, this nonsense is in fact a complex attack being prepared by the Russian governmental media network Russia Today and its journalists against Latvian media and the Latvian state. Neatkarīgā has now alerted our state security services.

When the order is issued – either directly from the Kremlin or some subordinate structure based in Latvia – Latvian media outlets will be disconnected from the web and replaced by fake avatars that will be visually identical but radically differ in their content. They will no longer concern bitcoins or short-term loans but instead threaten the independence of the Latvian state, deceive and incite people to harm the state, as well as spread fear and panic among the public.

The source of Neatkarīgā is a Russian journalist, and this is his statement:

“Institutions with ties to Russia Today maintain a network of information channels in the Latvian language. The system is being kept at a latent state and will be fully unleashed when it is necessary or when an order is received from Russia Today to spread specific information or disinformation.”

When this happens, we will see Renārs Kaupers, Benita Sadauska or even our prime minister saying things they themselves would never say. The scripts are being made by people disloyal to the state who speak Latvian and have been recruited for this purpose. The independent source confirmed that these are several unemployed journalists in Latvia who come from the Russian media environment.

It is interesting that the Russian embassy doesn’t even hide its interest in journalists. In February, ambassador Yevgeniy Lukyanov held a press conference during which a Russian journalist went on a rant about Latvian banks refusing to provide their services to him. The reason for this was a criminal case initiated by the State Security Service against owners of the company Baltijas MedijuAlianse for violating sanctions imposed by the European Union.

The Russian ambassador then promised that “Moscow will not sit idly when a journalist is being mistreated”.

The Kremlin’s propaganda mouthpiece Sputnik then published an article on this and cited the ambassador:

“Of course, we will protect journalists. We will invoke international law and intergovernmental agreements against nations that restrict journalists. We will demand that Latvia returns to following the agreements it has signed. But there is little hope this will help because double standards are present. What matters is whose “son of a bitch” are we talking about – if it’s a Latvian, then he is our “son of a bitch”, but if he is a foreigner, then sorry. As they say, you were unlucky to be born Russian,” the ambassador expressed.

It seems that Russia has now begun employing its own “sons of bitches”.

Neatkarīgā and the website nra.lv too have a duplicate online which is difficult to track and changes its address. Previously, primitive versions of such clones were reported for the websites jauns.lv and re.tv. There is no other explanation than malicious intent, because we represent quality journalism and never ask our readers to pay for any of it. All our materials are free of charge, the only requirement is to indicate a correct source. A lot of work has been put into creating these avatars, and a lot of work also means a lot of money. Creating fake media outlets and maintaining them at a latent state is evidently required in order for the readers to be able to recognize the fake outlet when the said attack takes place.

Currently, there are only fake media outlets, but it is very well possible that the same approach is used to create copies of state institutions. Netkarīgā strongly believes this information should be forwarded to the State Security Service, Ministry of Defense, State Chancellery and NATO Strategic Communications Center. Representatives of these institutions agreed that this information is worrisome and forwarded it to their experts for further investigation.

 

IMANTS VĪKSNE, Latvia especially for International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda